"Deck of Cards"
Prayer Book


Upon finding that the War To End All Wars was actually at an end, a soldier wandered away from his barracks and into town. As he passed a small church, he stopped and looked in and saw that the townsfolk had gathered for worship. The soldier wandered in, down the aisle and slid into a pew. He took his seat next to some worshipers who were at that moment sitting with their heads bowed in prayer. The soldier having no prayer book took out a time-worn deck of playing cards. He fanned the cards before him and started to mumble to himself. His fellow worshipers, amazed at the soldier for displaying a deck of cards, the "Devil's Tickets," in the house of the Lord, nudged him and whispered, "Put those away, you can't do that here!"

The soldier paid little attention to them and carried on with his cards and mumblings. Soon the fellow worshipers became alarmed and sent out for the constable and the poor man was arrested. He was placed in the jail for the night and the next morning was brought before the town magistrate, charged with disorderly conduct for displaying a deck of cards in a place of worship. The Magistrate asked what he had to say for himself, "Guilty or not guilty?"

The soldier standing before the bar of justice replied, "Not guilty, Your Honor, and with your kind permission, I would like to present this defense for my actions."

With that, he took out his old time-worn deck of cards, fanned them out before him, and then he began:

  • "Your Honor, to me this deck of cards is my prayer book and Bible. When I look into these cards and see an Ace, it reminds me that there is only one God.

  • When I see the Deuce, it reminds me that the Bible is divided into two parts, the Old and the New Testaments.

  • When I see the Trey, it represents the three persons of the Blessed Trinity—the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

  • When I see the Four, it reminds me of the four great Evangelists, who wrote the Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

  • When I see the Five, Your Honor, I think of the five virgins who kept their lamps trimmed in waiting for the coming of the Lord.

  • When I see the Six, it reminds me that in six days God made this great Heaven and Earth.

  • When I see the Seven, it represents the Sabbath, a day of rest and worship.

  • When I see the Eight, it reminds me of the eight righteous persons who were saved from the Flood—Noah, his wife, their three sons and their wives

  • When I see the Nine, I'm reminded of the nine lepers who were cleansed of their sins, but did not give thanks, such was their ingratitude.

  • When I see the Ten, I think, not only of the tenth leper, who did give thanks, but of the Ten Commandments handed down by Moses on the stone tablets, each spot for one Commandment.

  • Now, Your Honor, the Jack reminds me of the Knave of the Devil and to shun his temptation.

  • When I see the Queen, I think of the blessed Virgin Mary, who is Queen of Heaven.

  • The King is, of course, the King of Heaven and Earth and All Things, to whom we should all bow down and give thanks."
He folded up the deck of card, shuffled them once, and fanned them out before him. Then he continued:

  • "Your Honor, when I look into this deck of cards, I see that there are 365 spots, as there are 365 days in the year.

  • The Joker stands for Leap Year, 366 days.

  • There are fifty-two cards in the deck, there are fifty-two weeks in a year.

  • There are twelve face cards in the deck representing the twelve months of the year.

  • Actually, there are thirteen lunar months in the year represented by the thirteen cards in each suit.

  • Speaking of the suits, the deck is divided into four suits—Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts and Spades; and we know that the year is divided into four seasons—Summer, Winter, Spring and Fall.

  • Lastly, Your Honor, this deck of cards has two colors, red and black; the red stands for the daylight, and the black for the night.
So you see, Your Honor, not only is this deck of cards my prayer book and Bible, it is also my Almanac!"

With that, His Honor said, "Case dismissed!"


version by Capt. G.E. "Hap" Hill (Ret.)

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